Google Now Displaying Full Review Snippets in the Knowledge Panel

Off and on for the past few months Google has been showing reviews in the Knowledge panel for local searches. James Gibbons pointed out today that he was now seeing them more regularly. I would have to agree. This may be a more extensive test or it may be the new normal but many (not all) local listings with reviews are showing the snippets.

Interestingly while the specific review snippet comes from a single review, there are bolded/highlighted elements of the snippet that come from several reviews and the number is noted to the right. These highlighted snippets may or may not match the review summary snippets that are shown at the top of the about page.

They are, though, based on a principal word that repeats throughout the reviews. These bolded snippets are much more impactful when presented in the context of a full sentence. If the reviewer has a profile photo that will show as well. These photos add to a compelling presentation.

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It is not exactly clear why some listings show the reviews and others do not. (Note:These do not seem to showing on any searches in Europe, Canada or Australia yet.) For example both of these restaurants have 9 reviews. And both have 4 or 5 reviews done by users with G+ profiles. Yet one shows and one doesn’t. For reviews to show they need to have been created in G+ but that isn’t the only factor. It might be how current the reviews are as Tasta Pizza has had a review within the last month while the most recent for Angee’s is 8 months ago. Also note that in the example below, Google is only showing two review snippets not three as is typical. Another question to be answered.  If you have a theory why let me know.

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In related news, Google has announced that they will be removing all anonymous Zagat reviews from their products. This will result in a reduction of review count, and possibly a change of rating for those businesses (mostly restaurants) that had Zagat reviews.

Here is the announcement:

To show a consistent reviews experience to our users, reviews that are labeled by “A Zagat User” are being removed from Google products. Reviews from Google users will still appear as usual, and users can still contribute reviews. This may affect the overall rating for some businesses.

As an addendum and minor note; a brand search that is showing a recent G+ post will only display two reviews plus the post instead of three reviews. Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.08.05 PM

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Now Displaying Full Review Snippets in the Knowledge Panel by

18 thoughts on “Google Now Displaying Full Review Snippets in the Knowledge Panel”

  1. Thanks for sharing Mike. I just posted about it too after discovering here and gave you a h/t.

    When I went to take a screenshot of my own Knowledge Panel to share, I noticed something and I added a 2nd screenshot.

    Search for my brand: Catalyst eMarketing San Marcos Ca. And look who’s bidding! 29slime! 🙁

  2. In my findings (I focus on local marketing for lawyers), I have seen that any listing with more than 11 reviews show the profile photos.

    1. @MikeAndrews
      I don’t think that 11 is a magic number… For example here is a lawyer with 10 that it shows for.

      Here is another that has only six reviews.

      Here’s another oddity. A listing that only shows 2 reviews.

      And another: A restaurant with 10 reviews (3.0 star rating… could that be it) that doesn’t show any.

      There is some minimum number. Not sure what it is yet but I think it might have to do with how recently a review has been posted.

  3. @Mike, thanks for pointing the new snippets showing on the Knowledge Panel and the update on anonymous Zagat reviews being removed.

    The knowledge panels that have the new review snippets with or without a photo really stand out. When I search for Lawyers Worcester, MA, I’m not seeing the new review snippets, but when I search Lawyers Boston (no MA) they come up. Five of the results in the 7-pack have reviews – all but one listing show the new snippets on the knowledge panel.

    @Linda, your Knowledge panel looks great – I’m on it : ) Although you have 16 reviews, it only shows 3 of us that reviewed you. I wrote a review on your page 11 months ago – it goes without saying 5 stars. What I did spot on your Knowledge panel that I haven’t seen before is that it has “53 Followers on Google+” under Catalyst eMarketing. When I click on the 53 followers on Google+, it brings me to your Posts for your Page. Also, when I click on me, it brings the user into my Google+ profile page where I have all my reviews. It has my name, but the other two people’s names don’t show.

    I think the Knowledge Panel is great because a local business can be reviewed right within the search results if the user giving the review is logged in. All of the information that’s being displayed on the Knowlege Panel is good information showing not only Google reviews, but reviews on Superpages, Angie’s List and other review sites. Also, giving easy access to the Google+ Page as well.

  4. Susan I don’t use that page for social. I discourage it and point folks to my page profile page, where I have 5,775 followers.

    Yes it’s only going to show a few reviews not all. Looks like most only show 3.

  5. It will be interesting to see the criteria for these ‘top reviews’ (assuming this is permanent). Specifically, how the moderation within the Google+ reviews inbox impacts this choice. Intuitive that Google will want to ensure authoritative accounts with photos are shown as well as relevant personalization (ie a review from someone in their circles).

  6. Thanks Mike

    I’ll keep an eye out for this rolling out here in the Middle Ages in the UK 😉

    Yet more evidence that Google+ is critical to online success for businesses.

  7. @Mike: Mine was checked using the search terms Boston personal injury attorney and New York personal injury attorney and analyzing the first 3 pages of Google Maps results. It was consistent (but as you have stated, not proven 100% across the board) . I was able to recreate your lawyer in Orlando with 10 reviews showing the profile photos in the reviews using the term Orlando criminal defense attorney. This leads me to wonder if the total number of clients in smaller geographic areas (or radii if not enough local results to satisfy the user search) that the number of reviews could be less to show the profile photos in reviews if overall competition for that term is less.

  8. @Linda – pointing people to your Profile Page is a good option when you’re promoting yourself as your brand, which I see many people do. It’s a great tip to direct them. I believe Mike B. suggested to add a profile photo, cover image and a couple of posts to the Google+ Page (local) if you are not going to post on the Page. Many businesses don’t even know they can post on their Google+ Page or or they are using their Profile page like you are. I’ve clicked on many Google+ pages in the search results and not many are posting on their Google+ Page.

    They should do what you do – point them to their Profile page or start posting on their Google+ Page. We use our Profile Pages and our Google+ Local page. It’s much harder to get followers on our Google+ Local business page, but we believe the follower are more solid leads and interested in what we do than followers on our Profile pages. Although now that we provide training via Video Hangouts, it’s probably best to use the Profile pages. I always use my profile page when joining communities so that they know who I am.

  9. Mike I posted some “theories” on your Google Plus post and I’m interested in your opinions there.
    I think the fact that Google offers filters in Google Maps for “top reviewers” means that some folks have more pull than others. If your business doesn’t have 3 reviews from “top reviewers” you may not get these expanded snippets on the local card.

  10. BTW- I also think reviews from mobile are more authoritative. In Google City Experts we are highly encouraged to leave reviews via mobile.
    I think this is because Google can triangulate your location and prove you actually were at the business, or are possibly there at the time of the review – and they know how long you’ve been there, other similar businesses you’ve visited, etc.
    More context. More authority. More authenticity.
    But I love to speculate either way. 🙂

  11. @Allyn that mobile theory is a logical one, though I’d guess that someone who’d been in the area and/or checked in at the location and later left a review would still be considered contextually relevant and authentic?

    We’d be assuming that Google keeps an awful lot of historic location data for every user for that to be true, but the logic works.

  12. Hey Mike,
    Thanks for the good information! Do you know how Google chooses which photos to add to the KP? And where does it pull the map from?

    As always, you are the bomb!

    1. @Deb
      Photos in the KP are a crap shoot. Google usually pulls it from the profile photo but… if you have multiple profiles (ie brand page, local page etc) it could come from any one of them. And if it doesn’t see a profile it likes it will just pick one from the many it has gotten for a listing over the years. In Local KPs Google does’nt like logo’s at all.

      It pulls the map from Google Maps

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